When I was little, I thought that my grandparents lived really far away. In reality, of course, that wasn’t the case at all. I grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. My dad’s parents lived in Meridian, MS, about 80 miles away. My mom’s parents were in New Orleans, which is about 200 miles from Jackson. Both sets of grandparents were a road trip away.
In hindsight, we saw them relatively frequently. Holidays were generally split. We spent Christmas with my dad’s parents – which I guess is fair, since my dad is an only child and we were his parents’ only grandchildren; my mom, on the other hand, is one of seven, so there were plenty of grandkids around during the holidays for her folks. A couple of days after Christmas, we’d go to New Orleans and usually stay there through New Year’s.
Flash-forward, and now I’m an adult with a child of my own. And Catie’s grandparents genuinely are far away. My parents are still in Mississippi, which is a good 800 miles from here. And Dave’s parents are in England. Both sets of grandparents require airplanes to visit, not short little road trips.
We’re lucky that Mags (Dave’s mom) has been able to come over for a few visits. But Catie has a granddad (Dave’s dad) who she’s never met. Heck, I haven’t even met my own father-in-law either, and Dave and I have been together for over five years. He & his wife haven’t ever come to the US, and Dave and I have never gone over there – which was first because of problems with Dave’s visa, and later because we had a new baby, and then we just couldn’t afford it with the move. There was always a reason that stopped us from going.
Now, though, Dave has a green card so he can freely leave and re-enter the country (hooray for that!), and we aren’t quite as broke as we were a year ago. So, we’re going to England for Christmas. Actually, we’re going for more than that – we’re flying out on December 11th, and we won’t be coming back until December 28th. Seventeen days. Hopefully that will be enough time to see all of Dave’s family, make a touring visit of his friends who’ve spread out all over the country, and also do some sightseeing, since I’ve never been to England before. How sad is that? I’m 33 years old, and this will be the first stamp on my passport (because they don’t stamp it when you go to Canada).
Obviously, we’re all really excited. It’s going to be weird for me because I’ve only spent one Christmas away from my family in my entire life, but I’m also really looking forward to this trip because I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.
I emailed Dave’s parents yesterday to let them know we’re coming, send them copies of our flight itineraries, etc. Dave’s mom of course is thrilled; she and her partner, Roger, will be coming over for a visit in a couple of weeks, but she’s like any other grandma in wanting to get as much Grandbaby Time as possible, so she’s very happy. And Dave’s stepmom emailed me back to say that when she told Keith (Dave’s dad) that we’re coming, he got choked up and teary. He’s beyond happy that he’ll finally get to meet his only grandchild. Of course, hearing that he teared up made me all misty, because that’s just so damn sweet – and, well, also because I’m a big wuss.
And honestly, I’m feeling a little bit guilty that we haven’t made more of a concentrated effort to go there sooner. There probably was a time when we could have gone to England, and we didn’t. I guess neither Dave nor I truly realized how important it is to them. I think that in the future we’ll have to work harder at that.